Palimpsest  

Go Back   Palimpsest > Reviews > Book Reviews


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 3rd Feb 2017, 10:17   #1
lurgee
Junior Palimpsestarian
is hanging around suspiciously
 
Join Date: 6 Dec 2008
Posts: 246
Default A Little Life

I thought it was a bit rubbish. If there is still anyone else out there, I might post more branes.
lurgee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th Apr 2017, 10:00   #2
Noumenon
Senior Palimpsester

has the freedom of Palimp City
 
Noumenon's Avatar
 
Join Date: 13 Jul 2006
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 3,786
Default Re: A Little Life

I think the Palimp receives a little more passing attention these days (and some of the members will be meeting face-to-face in a few weeks, according to long-standing tradition!), so why not dive in and tell us what you think?

(and for my poor sake at least, you could start with a bit more detail - what is A Little Life?)

((also, welcome aboard, Mahar! Our forum has become quiet in recent years, but if you love books and reading you're in good company.))
Noumenon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2017, 10:52   #3
lurgee
Junior Palimpsestarian
is hanging around suspiciously
 
Join Date: 6 Dec 2008
Posts: 246
Default Re: A Little Life

Because I am massively lazy, I will shamelessly recycle a review I wrote elsewhere.

The novel in question is A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. It was nominated for the Man Booker prize recently, the year that A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James won. If it is any consolation to Ms Yanagihara, I also struggled with Mr James's opus. In fact, I couldn't even finish it. Didn't even get a third of the way through. Whereas at least I managed to carry on with A Little Life to the bitter (and it is very bitter) end.

Now, I am possibly in a minority here. Other reviewers have said it is "A book that demands to be read" and that it is "Astonishing and unsettling."

I did not find it so. I found it to be a very long, repetitive, dull novel.

It probably earns its critical esteem because it deals with child abuse and self-harm. Unfortunately, dealing with controversial subject matter does not make a book good.

The characters are unconvincing and do nothing to endear us or make us interested in their rather unrealistic lives (A successful artist! A successful actor! A successful lawyer! A successful architect!). I struggled to care about them, really. It was telling that the only character I felt faintly positive about was Malcolm (The successful architect!) and he was one the one with whom we spent least time and were awarded least insight into.

The style of writing is monotonous - endless descriptions - particularly of dinners and interior decor - and pages of not terribly much happening and no-one talking and everything being spelled out for the reader.

I will give it two stars, because I'd hate to think that I spent so much of my life reading a one star book ... no ... that's not fair. Yanagihara has at least tried to do something big and ambitious and, dreadfully, dreadfully serious. She doesnt do it very well, but at least she didn't write a novel about being 30 in New York and not being able to find the perfect man.

(Though as the main characters are gay, perhaps she sort of did. But at least there were no references to handbags or designer shoes, that I noted.)

It reminded me of another very long book that I gleefully loathed on these pages, An American Tragedy. That book, like A Little Life, plodded on interminably for no clear purpose. Like tragedy, Life did have occasional good moments, but they were separated by whole other novels worth of dull prose about unappealing characters and decisions around interior decoration and food.

And it goes on.

Forever.

lurgee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2017, 12:12   #4
Noumenon
Senior Palimpsester

has the freedom of Palimp City
 
Noumenon's Avatar
 
Join Date: 13 Jul 2006
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 3,786
Default Re: A Little Life

Thanks for the warning!
Noumenon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2017, 14:53   #5
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,198
Default Re: A Little Life

It really is an awful book. I fully agree, and think two stars is too generous.
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Jul 2017, 6:15   #6
lurgee
Junior Palimpsestarian
is hanging around suspiciously
 
Join Date: 6 Dec 2008
Posts: 246
Default Re: A Little Life

I'm glad to know I am not the only person. given its MAN-Booker nomination and the massive adulation it received, I was wondering if it was just me and there was something wrong with me.

Two stars because some of the grim bits were very grim. I just hated the modern day parts.

I particularly loathed the adoption sub-plot.
lurgee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Jul 2017, 21:04   #7
m.
Palimpsestarian
eats too much cheese
 
m.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: 22 Nov 2003
Location: Poland
Posts: 1,300
Default Re: A Little Life

I can't have a real opinion on this having read ca 80 pages only. I stopped because I didn't like the tone. I may return to it eventually (got it for birthday) but your opinions aren't very encouraging...
__________________
Reading.
m. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th Jul 2017, 16:27   #8
Jerkass
Palimpsestarian
eats too much cheese
 
Jerkass's Avatar
 
Join Date: 16 Dec 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 1,288
Default Re: A Little Life

M! How have you been!
__________________
"I learned never to drink anything out of a jar labeled 'w-i-s-k-i.'"
Jerkass is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mal Peet: Life - An Exploded Diagram Colyngbourne Book Reviews 0 3rd May 2012 15:28
L.J. Davis: A Meaningful Life John Self Book Reviews 22 13th Apr 2011 23:22
James Salter John Self Book Reviews 116 2nd Apr 2010 20:01
Willy Vlautin: The Motel Life Alan Book Reviews 5 31st Jan 2010 13:28
Stephen Jay Gould: Wonderful Life Noumenon Book Reviews 3 23rd Feb 2009 16:35


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 18:07.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.